sure your child knows that, win or lose, scared or
heroic you love him/her, appreciate their efforts,
and are not disappointed in them. This will allow them
to do their best without a fear of failure. Be the
person in their life they can look to for constant
your best to be completely honest about your child's
athletic ability, his/her competitive attitude, their
sportsmanship, and their actual skill level.
but don't coach him/her on the way to the pool or on
the way back, or at breakfast, and so on. It’s
tough not to, bit it's a lot tougher for the child
to be inundated with advice, pet talks and often-critical
Teach them to enjoy the thrill of competition, to
there trying," to be working to improve his/her
swimming skills and attitudes. (Help him/her to develop
the feel for competing, go trying hard, and for HAVING
Try not to re-live your athletic life through your
child in a way that creates pressure; you’ve
lost as well as won. You were frightened, you backed
off at times, and you were not always heroic. Don't
pressure your child because of your pride. Athletic
children need their parents so you must not withdraw.
Just remember there is a thinking, feeling, sensitive
free spirit out there in that uniform who needs a lot
of understanding, especially when their world turns
bad. (If he/she is comfortable with you, win or lose,
he/she is on their way to maximum achievement and enjoyment.)
Don't compete with the coach. If the coach becomes
and authority figure, it will run from enchantment
to disenchantment, etc., with your athlete.
Don't compare skill, courage, or attitudes of your
child with other members of the team.
Get to know the coach so you can be assured that
his/her philosophy;, attitudes, ethics, and knowledge
are such that you are happy to have your child under
Always remember that children tend to exaggerate
both when praised and when criticized. Temper you reaction
and investigate before over-reacting.
Make a point of understanding courage, and the fact
that it’s a relative. Some of us can climb mountains,
or aren't afraid to fight, but turn to jelly if a bee
approaches. Everyone is frightened in certain areas.
Explain that courage is not the absence of fear, but
a means of doing something in spite of fear or discomfort.